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Scripture often exhorts us to pray (Ex 22: 23, 27; II Chron 7: 14; Ps 37: 4; Isa 55: 6; Jas 5: 16).

God’s Word records many testimonies of answered prayer. Let us consider three examples for our encouragement:

o Eliezer’s prayer for a bride for Isaac

Abraham had commissioned Eliezer his chief servant to find a bride for his son Isaac among his kindred. Entrusted with this delicate task, Eliezer turned to the God of his master for guidance: “O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham. 13 Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: 14 And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master” (Gen 24: 12-14).

Eliezer’s simple prayer of faith – one of the most specific and remarkable in the Bible – received an answer from the Lord even “before he had done speaking” (v 15). His heart filled with praise and thanksgiving, the servant testified of the Lord’s providence before Rebekah’s family: “And before I had done speaking in mine heart, behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down unto the well, and drew water: and I said unto her, Let me drink, I pray thee. 46 And she made haste, and let down her pitcher from her shoulder, and said, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: so I drank, and she made the camels drink also” (vv 45-46). It is clear that the Lord was guiding him to the right woman for his master’s son.

o Jacob’s prayer for reconciliation with Esau

After spending twenty years in Padanaram, Jacob was on his way home to Canaan with his big family, servants and herds. Though he looked forward to returning home, Jacob knew that he would face one of the greatest crises of his life – that of meeting his elder brother Esau who had vowed revenge upon his cunning brother for stealthily stealing his birthright: “And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob” (Gen 27: 41).

To appease his brother, Jacob had prepared rich gifts “that I may find grace in thy sight” (Gen 32: 5). Despite his efforts, Jacob received a seemingly hostile response – Esau was coming to meet him with “four hundred men” (v 6). Remembering his brother’s bitter hatred, Jacob was greatly distressed. He quickly divided his group into two bands so that if one were attacked and captured, the other might meanwhile escape (vv 7-8).

In the midst of this crisis, Jacob pleaded with God for deliverance from his brother: “O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee: 10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands. 11 Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children. 12 And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude” (vv 9-12).

In the following chapter, we are told of God’s gracious answer as the estranged brothers reconciled with tears of joy: “And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept” (Gen 33: 4).

o The church’s prayer for Peter’s deliverance

During his reign, King Herod “stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church” (Acts 12: 1). When he learnt that his actions pleased the Jews, Herod continued his persecution of believers by killing James the brother of John and imprisoning Simon Peter (vv 2-3).

We read in verse 5 that when Peter was in prison, “prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him”. The situation appeared hopeless – Peter was strongly guarded by “four quarternions of soldiers” – 16 soldiers (v 4). “Peter was kept in prison with a great deal of care, so that it was altogether impossible, either by force or by stealth, to get him out” (Matthew Henry). But the church’s ardent prayers prevailed with God. The deliverance by “the angel of the Lord” was so amazing that “when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews” (v 11). Having considered all the circumstances, Peter concluded that it could have been effected only by divine intervention. God intervened in response to His people’s fervent pleas and delivered His servant from captivity.


Brethren, do we need God’s guidance and help? Are we struggling with some difficult problem? May the above examples of answered prayer encourage us to bring our petitions before God. As our gracious Heavenly Father, He will attend to our needs. Like these petitioners of old, let us “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4: 16). (… to be continued on 16 October 2022)

– Pastor